More Reasons Why Triathlon Is Good For You

I ran across this terrific summary of the qualities that athletes bring to their jobs. I sometimes sound vague when describing the positive link between my triathlon thing and my career thing so this article is going in my “Career” folder on Dropbox.

Any other traits you would add?

Why Your Next Hire Should Be an Athlete


This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

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Three things from the week making me a better triathlete:

1) My Smurf Tire

I traded my rear wheel’s road tire for a Smurf blue training one, setting my bike up for the winter training season. I had the most outdoor rides ever and increased my on-road confidence this past summer, yet my speed and power were flat. Seeing the bike with the hard-to-miss tire in the living room should make it easier to train. At least, that’s my plan.

2) The Sports Diabetes Project

I recently wrote a press release about a new partnership between Sansego (IRONMAN Champ Craig Alexander’s triathlon coaching community) and The Sports Diabetes Project, an effort to inspire and educate diabetic athletes. Launched at this year’s IRONMAN World Championship, SDP is a team of triathletes who train, race and live with diabetes — and adds another important voice to this triathlon world. Better yet, the partnership was finalized just in time for today’s World Diabetes Day.

3) Eric McElvenny & Setting an IRONMAN Record

A few days ago, Kyle Manuch, the founder and CEO of Athlete Brands, alerted me to the story of Eric McElvenny and his goal to set a record time for an amputee finishing an IRONMAN race.  A Marine veteran and endurance athlete, McElvenny is probably at this moment feeling confident and ready for tomorrow’s IRONMAN Arizona. The more I learn about physically challenged athletes, the more I appreciate their athleticism. They train hard; they are driven; they want to do their best; they have good and bad days…just like all of us. Kudos to Athletes Brands for supporting the Challenged Athletes Foundation – Operation Rebound by selling limited edition t-shirts co-designed by Eric. Good luck, Eric!

My Desk Is A Ladder

Blog Title1Saturday afternoon, Joseph and I assembled my desk that had been in storage since February. I had not thought much about being without a dedicated personal writing space, all 6 x 2.5 x 1.8 of it, for nine months.

After packing up my apartment in Seattle and heading to Vancouver, I found writing-friendly places everywhere: my husband’s desk draped with a bedsheet to preserve his stuff; cafes down South Granville Street;  our dining room table; the coworking space Suite Genius for weekly “office” hours; benches along False Creek; picnic tables outside Hillcrest Community Center after a swim;  YVR airport lounge before flights; and Molli Cafe and its tall tables barely wide enough for my laptop and plate of tacos.

My laptop and my freelance writing work allow, sometimes seemingly demand, me to write at various times in different places every day of the week. Every location for writing has its quirks, advantages, and annoyances. I stopped visiting and began living in Vancity thanks to those hunts for coffee, WIFI, and people. They were some of the best parts of this past summer.

I would choose a corner Tim Horton’s with strong internet over a hipster cafe with bad WIFI

But it was not until Saturday when I leaned my desk against the wall, unrolled the lamp cord, and opened my laptop, did I suddenly feel relief and comfort, even safety. My own space. My own space in my new husband’s office in a new city in a new country. One defined place that fosters my writing, that immediately signals the start of the work of writing – no longer taking my laptop into the restroom and or wondering if the wall outlet actually functions.

The desk is not fancy. It is wedged, like the frame of a new condo building downtown, between chester drawers and short cabinets. I turn right and can see the rising Vancouver skyline, straight and see a happy yellow wall, and left the doorway out. Just five pieces of wood, the desk is two skinny side planks with three open shelves bolted between them, the bottom shelf being the widest and where I work. The middle and top rungs will eventually hold notebooks, an old dictionary, and pens.

I want to keep my desk uncluttered. It’s easier to climb that way.

This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

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Three things from the week making me a better triathlete

1) Recovery Under Blankets

Four days after departing hot Los Cabos, the husband and I drove about three hours into the B.C. interior to visit his family. We slept 10 hours the first night of the first weekend in months absent the fast, non-stop twirl of prepping, training, eating, and sleeping. A snowstorm in the Cascades on our way back to Vancouver effectively ended our Los Cabos adventure and welcomed us to the recovery season.


2) Off-Season Food

Chocolate-chip-pecan-banana-bread. Froufrou coffee drinks. Those are some of the foods I am allowing myself to eat without guilt now that the main race for 2015 is completed. Yesterday, the off-season gluttony continued with this slow-cooked chili thick with elk meat.



I learned more about the world of off-road triathletes while writing a summary of the XTERRA World Championship held in Maui this past weekend. After watching videos of the athletes on the muddy, scratchy course along mountain ridges and under jungle trees, I appreciate the tidiness of standard triathlons. I mean, the swim is described not just as open water, but ROUGH water.

This Is Not A Hill

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When I first ran up this road in Stanley Park, I struggled to breathe. My lungs and legs burned. I doubted that I would reach the flatness of Prospect Point, doubted my decision to try this triathlon thing. That was me five years ago running the BMO Vancouver half marathon when the climb to and over Prospect Point was the most cursed section of the course.

About a month ago, in the final weeks leading up to IRONMAN 70.3 Cabos, I completed six up and down repeats of this hill (plus run warm-ups and 6:20 sprints at the end). There was some discomfort, but I mostly felt the hot satisfaction inside my gut for seeing my legs and arms move in good form. My training through the spring and summer was paying off, and completing the race under the Mexican sun seemed possible, satisfying, even enjoyable.

Thanks to my improved physical fitness, the hill is no longer a hill.

Instead, other hills spread in front of me.

It is not the hill of doubt about my decision to shift my career sideways and launch a freelance writing service in my early 40s.

It is not the hill of summer loneliness that left a canyon each day, swelling up in the afternoons after the rested mornings, crumbling when the busycookingcleaningbrushingmyteethtakingdogoutgoingtobed evenings started.

It is not the growing hill of financial worry every time I do my budget.

It is not the hill of boxes entombing my books, my family photos, my stuff from Seattle, all now stacked in our living room.

It is not the hill of never-ending steps and jumps to Canadian permanent residence.

It is not the hill of sadness with its mean switchbacks of depression when Luddo, my canine companion, stumbled and fell close to death.

One of the reasons I love triathlon is its requirement to physically and mentally push yourself to make yourself better. In the past, its training had been my way of injecting challenge and growth into my day.

Now, triathlon is a comforting refuge with its predictable pain and needed endorphin rush. Its hill is no longer my hill.

Some days, when I ungracefully and doggedly scramble over the professional and personal changes stacked  around me, I wish I could go back five years to that churning burn of Prospect Point.

To feel relief by seeing a definite peak, feeling solid wherever my feet land, stopping my running, walking a bit, and catching my breath.

This Week’s Triathlon Good Things

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Three things from the week making me a better triathlete:

1) IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos

My sixth half IRONMAN race left me exhausted, tattooed with salt stains, and tanned — and deeply grateful. I stood steady on the beach at the race start with my amazing husband, a healthy body, and a calm mind. Though Los Cabos had the hardest course and toughest conditions I have ever experienced, I felt like the finish line in the town square of San Jose del Cabos really represented the end of a year-long race from a life in Seattle to a new and better one in Vancouver.


2) Blue Sky, Warm Water, Happy David

The blue sky, high temperatures, and bright sun of Los Cabos made race day challenging, yet I was happier and more motivated through the week. Once again, I was reminded that my best physical and mental self grows under a big sun and near water.


3) Eating Cactus and Crunching Jicama

During the week, we filled our plates and cups with slices and chunks of fresh tuna (aka cactus fruit and prickly pear), papaya, watermelon, guavas, bananas, tangerines, jicama, cucumbers, nopales, lemons (aka limes) and yellow lemons (aka limes), and limas (imagine the love child of a lime and orange.) The fruit and veggies kept me hydrated and nourished…and satisfied my sweet tooth in the land of pastries by the platter.

My Miami to Los Cabos Layover


Today we travel from Vancouver to Los Cabos with a layover in Los Angeles. We are at LAX now, watching planes and drinking coffee.  If all goes as planned, the husband and I will complete the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos on Sunday…and the sweaty race day could not come sooner.

For the past seven months in Vancouver, I have been training (swimbikerunstrength) for the Baja race, launching my freelance writing service, adapting to married life, and becoming a resident of Canadaland. On top of all that, I slipped in and out of my depression, gained an awesome writing client, mourned the passing of a cousin, and turned down two months in Toronto with the husband to care for a sweet but sick dog.

The past year has not followed the tidy initial plan I journaled about on my balcony those sunny afternoons in Seattle of last September.  Did I overestimate my capacity to handle all of the logistic, financial, and emotional changes? Yes. Did my inclination to say “HELL YES, I can do this” finally show dangerous consequences? Yes.  Did I escape into the pool and on the road to experience satisfaction and happiness from the triathlon training? Yes.

Last year at this time, I was flying alone into Fort Lauderdale to race the IRONMAN 70.3 Miami (both Los Cabos and Miami races are held the same weekend) as a personal reward following sixteen years employed by Philanthropy Northwest. Then, I was not sure, but I wanted to shift my career and lifestyle to something that would allow me to combine my passions and interests. It would be great, I thought, if I could find a way to write, train, and travel while making a living.

Across the table in the airport lounge, the husband adjusts his earbuds, and I plan to begin a project for a client on the flight to San Jose del Cabo. I realize now that Miami was the start to this new career, new country, new marriage, and Los Cabos is a perfectly-time comma mark in this year of change. In this journey from Miami to Los Cabos, I have changed more than an address, crossed more than one border, and had a very long layover.